[P] Stumbling through a new wasteland divided
Gaucho Occupation Wrote:Help another pack member with an unruly animal - break and train a horse, birth a nervous sheep, or wrestle a stubborn bovine; sometimes animal husbandry is harder than it looks!
Location: Broke-Leg Marsh || NPCs: Amadahy || Form: Optime

Delicate layers of hoarfrost glinted in the weak morning light, transforming the drab hues of the late-season landscape into something that could have been beautiful if the world wasn't so dead. But the sunlight, feeble as it was, would eventually melt away the fragile frost and winter, as always, promised to keep up its fight.

It was a tale as old as time.

The cold closed in around her when she had slipped out of the Old Charmingtown Mill and Rafaela Tejada gave her lean body a hearty shake. And then she began to walk. Clouds of breath dispersed in the frosty morning air, puffing out and up like a chugging train, while dead grasses and frozen earth crunched softly underfoot.

Like Remy before her, Rafaela had begun to spend more and more time outside of her childhood home and, again much like her adopted brother, she had chosen to spend that time with the horses.

With no horse of her own, and no desire to hang around the family pastures, the young woman turned to the communal stock to better her riding skills and practice some of the training techniques that she had picked up from her father. Among these, the blue roan mare Amadahy and the black-and-white tovero paint Hell's Bells, both of whom were among the Tierra Amplia herd, were fast becoming her favorites. They were fast horses, sure-footed and confident, and riding horses like them was exhilarating and sometimes even terrifying.

It filled her with something other than the mess of emotions that the chaos of family life had left her with.

Reaching Broke-Leg Marsh, Rafaela quickly selected a halter and lead before seeking Amadahy out among the other horses grazing in the frosts of Tierra Amplia. Curious as she was, it was the mare who found her first. "There you are," she murmured, clicking her tongue encouragingly until the horse approached. She was still in-training, and while her tendency to be overly zealous made it so Amadahy wasn't a great choice for a newbie trainer, Rafaela loved a good challenge and she desperately wanted to ride this horse.

After losing precious sunlight trying to convince the mare that now was not playtime, Rafa successfully put on her halter and led her from the pasture and to a quieter location away from the rest of the herd. Once there, she began to refresh the groundwork that Ama had already learned, hopeful that the mare would prove to her that she knew what to do so they could move onto bigger and better things.

[WC -- 436]

[Image: SURY4mi.png]
Rafaela Tejada
wiki gallery del cenere gang player

signature art by despi
Remy started as Yuma stamped her foot.  The youth was sat in the saddle and clearly his mind had wandered.  He’d been up since before dawn, feeding, brushing and mucking out.  None of it was glamourous, but it all had to be done, and Remy found he slept little at the moment.  He’d not spoken about it, or really made reference to it, but he’d been avoiding his uncle John for a while now, not actively, but he no longer made time for the older male.  Instead he had filled his days with work, horses and a new friend.  The diminutive jackal who did not speak had been teaching the golden eyed youth how to sign, it was slow going and frustrating, but he stuck at it, and the smaller male seemed to be opening up, and eager to share his language with someone else, at least that’s how it seemed to Remy.

Yuma to had been a labour of love.  When Remy had first inherited her, she was nervous and high maintenance, but he’d kept at it, and now her beauty, speed and growing stamina, were available to him.  He treated his mare with respect, patience, but also a quiet, implacable firmness.  Remy wasn’t sure he’d trust her with another rider, but for him, she was placid and everyone was able to see how beautiful she was, both in appearance and in personality.  She was also clearly getting to know him, because while he had been daydreaming, she’d walked them to the marshes, and in the growing light, he saw a familiar figure, one that brought a smile to his face.

Dismounting easily, and picking up the lead rein, Remy covered the rest of the distance on foot, feeling the cold ground against his pads.  As he drew nearer, his smile broadened.

”Y’ playin’ ‘round with y’ horse again?  Y’ know, not gonna e’er be ridin’ if y’ keep dancin’ round.” He teased good naturedly. ”Y’ need a hand?”
Location: Broke-Leg Marsh || NPCs: Amadahy || Form: Optime

They went through all the important steps and Rafaela was impressed with the mare. She flexed and softened like a champ, allowing Rafa to guide her head from shoulder to shoulder and lowering it with the applied pressure, and she seemed pleased to be lead and was more than happy to oblige the young woman when asked to go in a circle.

But for a horse with Amadahy's active spirit, standing still was terribly difficult.

"C'mon, girl, you know this," Rafaela murmured, giving the lead rope a gentle shake. "Back up." Amadahy seemed to consider this for a moment, either not understanding what was being asked of her or unwilling to comply, but before the Tejada could give the lead rope a firmer shake, the mare moved back until the rope was slack again. "Good girl," Rafa praised, giving her tail a wag to convey her pleasure.

The trouble with Amadahy's seeming difficulty in grasping this exercise was that, without the horse's compliance, putting a saddle on her and mounting her to ride would be nearly impossible for Rafaela. The mare needed to learn to stand still when she was being asked to, or else all of the other groundwork that they'd been practicing would be pointless.

Standing there, facing the mare's dark face, Rafaela silently willed her to remain still. But when the sounds of an approaching horse drew their attention, all of Ama's concentration melted away like the sun-kissed hoarfrost.

Rafaela blew out a breath and turned to find Remy, his smile as bright as his eyes. She clicked her tongue against her teeth. "Ain't never gonna ride 'er if she don't learn how t' stand still, neither," she replied sullenly, twisting her lips at Ama.

Amadahy stretched her neck towards Yuma and gave her tail a gentle flick.

"Actually," Rafa began at Remy's offer. "She been doin' better today. If you ain't doin' nothin', I wanna get a saddle on 'er. You think you can hold her lead rope an' keep her standin' still while I do a little work t' get her used to one?" She had already done a little desensitization with Amadahy, but getting a saddle on her and getting her used to the weight of a rider was still her primary goal today.

[WC -- 392]

[Image: SURY4mi.png]
Rafaela Tejada
wiki gallery del cenere gang player

signature art by despi
Remy listened as he moved towards the pair, Yuma following quietly along behind.  The young male had no doubt that his horse’s ears were perked up and eyes looked about her.  Remy had begun to realise that a general curiosity was something that indicated high intelligence.  Once they were close enough, Remy dropped the rein, trusting Yuma to stay still, and it was only as he greeted his sister’s horse he realised the action might have looked like a boast.

”Sorry.” he said turning to his sister, giving her a friendly lick on the nose and an apologetic tail wag.  Remy was never happier than when he was around horses or surrounded by family, and after the events that had happened with uncle John, and then the subsequent lack of visiting, Remy relied on his family and friends more so than before, o he was happy to help his sister.

Turning to Ama he tickled the mare’s nose ”Hiya beautiful, are you not standing still.” he said, his tone relaxed and conversational ”I know how you feel, it’s boring, nothing to do and always other interesting things to see, but we promise it’s important.”

As Remy spoke, he ran his hand up the mare’s face and slowly rubbed at her cheek, his smile was pleasant and he may not have even realised his serene expression.  After a moment though, he turned back to his older sister.

”ah’m happy t’ help sis.  I’ll take the rein, and we’ll see what happens with her.  I guess the important thing is, if it doesn’t work, and may not first time, we don’ get disheartened or cross.  Stupid thing is us and them live t’gether, but neither o’ us talk the same language, so sometimes it’s hard to understand.  O’course, if y’ feelin’ brave, could jus’ swing up on her back and give ‘er a start.  Not sayin’ it’s the best thing t’ be doin’ but ah’m not sayin’ ah ain’ done it before.” he grinned, and took the rein from his sister.

”Y’ been okay otherwise?  Ah’ve been workin’ a lot an’ not really been back home much so ain’ spoken to y’ in a while.”

As he asked his question, Remy took hold of the rein and kept on stroking Ama.  The conversation was directed at his sister, but he could see, out of the corner of his eye, that the mare was listening.  He enjoyed talking to his siblings, but it was also a useful tool to signal that everything was normal.

WC: 421
Location: Broke-Leg Marsh || NPCs: Amadahy || Form: Optime

The mare reached her lips out towards Remy's hand, but pulled sharply away as though affronted when all he did was tickle her whiskers. She tossed her head gently for good measure and blew a cloud of breath from her nostrils. Rafaela snickered and gave her brother an amused sidelong look that told of her approval.

Different as horses were, they certainly had personalities the same as Luperci did and Amadahy, playful as she was, could handle a little teasing now and again. Anyway, Remy made up for it with some true affection anyway and the mare accepted it wholly.

She watched Ama as his hand rolled down her thin, muscular neck, listening and nodding while he spoke. She knew this word of advice from her father, but it could be difficult not to become disheartened sometimes when things didn't go according to plan. It helped her to remember that horses were living beings, with minds and moods of their own, and, just like when she was learning something knew, it always took time.

"Reckon learnin' their tongue wouldn't be a half-bad idea," Rafa said thoughtfully. But where to even begin? She pursed her lips at the idea of skipping the saddle-training altogether. "Naw, I spent too much time earnin' 'er trust t' piss it all way actin' a fool." But she grinned impishly all the same. "Would be awful fun though, wouldn't it?"

Handing him the lead, Rafa stepped away momentarily to retrieve the saddle and walked towards Amadahy slowly with it in hand. She was used to the look and the smell of it by now and continued to listen to their voices without concern.

"'Bout as well as can be, I reckon," she said with a subtle shrug, sliding the saddle slowly over the mare's back. Ama shifted, but didn't pull away entirely, and Rafaela was able situate the rest of the saddle atop her back. "Anyway, I ain't been home much neither. What've ya been workin' on that's kept you away, anyhow?"

Slowly and with care, Rafaela began to cinch the straps to Amadahy's girth while listening for Remy's reply.

[WC -- 367]

[Image: SURY4mi.png]
Rafaela Tejada
wiki gallery del cenere gang player

signature art by despi
Remy listened to his sister as she talked, and he didn’t hold the mare so tightly she couldn’t turn her head to watch if she liked.  Ama wasn’t a prisoner or in trouble, and forcing her into this may well mean the loss of trust and weeks if not months of trying to win it back again.  So instead, Remy held the rein firmly, letting the mare know he was there and in charge, but not pinning her.

”Yeah! Some o’ them are real pieces o’ work, and sittin’ on ‘em and playin’ buckin’ bronco till they tire ‘emselves out and then get ‘em t’ listen, but nah, y’re right, ain’t the right thing for Ama.”

As he spoke, he watched his sister put the saddle on the mare and begin to sinch the girth straps.  Ama was too distracted by Remy’s voice that she forgot to hold her breath and so they didn’t have to give her side a wallop, which was probably for the best.  She really wasn’t as stubborn as a load of the others that they had taken care of before, besides, they’d both had some damn good teachers.

”Jus’ normal chores.” he said, a little sheepishly, and then, almost embarrassed ”An’ a little personal project.  If y’ must know, I’ve been thinkin’ about trying to think which stallion would be good to cover different mares.  Ah really wanna have a Gang horse.  We could breed ‘em strong, faster and better than ever’one else.  Means we could help the pack trade horses and the better we bred ‘em, the more stuff we could get for them and the safer and better off the pack’ll be.”

While the Del Mar might have been repelled, Remy still felt the shadow of the richer relations and was determined to ensure that the gang never was beholden to anyone again.

”What y’ think?  Y’ wanna help?”
Location: Broke-Leg Marsh || NPCs: Amadahy || Form: Optime

She looked up briefly when he mentioned that chores had been what was keeping him away, an expression of skepticism plain on her face. Tightening the last of the straps, Rafaela straightened again and looked at her adopted brother with some scrutiny. Was this a real project, or just something he was making up on the fly to make his absences more believable? She watched him for several beats, her expression shifting subtly to one of cautious optimism.

"'Course I wanna help, but..." she trailed off, lifting a hand to scratch an itch along her cheekbone. "Well, seems an awful lot of work for jest us two, 'less you got other folk in mind. I reckon Pa would be right interested, maybe Holly an' Boots, too."

In full brainstorm mode now, Rafa pressed the pad of her index finger against her lips and glanced upwards into the sky, thought forming a crease between her brows. Compared to what she had learned about training and riding horses, she knew next to nothing about breeding them. But she knew that puppies took after their parents, like how she had her daddy's verdant eyes and her mama's small stature, so it stood to reason that horse ought to be the same.

"Fast an' surefooted," she said distantly, coming out of her thoughts. "Like Ama here." She gave the mare's shoulder a pat and grinned at Remy. "You talked to the Rey Salvaje yet 'bout any of this?" As the Gang's leader, Nazario would need to be kept abreast of anything to do with the communal horses. He would also ultimately have the last word, she thought silently. What would he envision a Del Ceneren horse to be like?

"Hold her there, would ya? I'm gonna try an' mount 'er."

[WC -- 301]

[Image: SURY4mi.png]
Rafaela Tejada
wiki gallery del cenere gang player

signature art by despi

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